People have used honey since ancient times. We can't remember how many times we had a sore throat as kids, our mothers (and often grandmas) gave us honey in some shape or form. But it was only later that we realized that high sugar concentration is not good for our health. Thankfully, there is an alternative that is healthier and sweeter and has gotten the approval of medical sciences as well. It is known as Manuka Honey. In this article, we will touch on Manuka honey and MGO, the antimicrobial activity that gives it its medicinal attributes.
What is Manuka Honey, and What Are Its Origins?
Manuka Honey is honey native to New Zealand. While traditional honey is created by pollinating various flowers, for Manuka honey, the bees only pollinate Manuka trees. Over the last decade, this monofloral (since it's derived from a single flower) honey has created a buzz within traditional and modern medicine. Here are some of the general features of Manuka honey.
- It is firmer: Manuka Honey is firmer than traditional honey. That is, it won't be runny when you scoop it out of the jar.
- It is less sweet: Manuka honey is less-sweeter than traditional honey – even though it looks the same. As a result, many New Zealand households use it as a sugar substitute.
- It has a bitter aftertaste: Manuka honey has a bitter aftertaste, similar to other dark honey types derived from buckwheat and heather.
MGO: The Compound that Gives Manuka Honey its Medicative Properties
The medicative properties of Manuka Honey were discovered in 1980 by Peter Molan, a professor. He found that this product contains properties similar to hydrogen peroxide to fight bacteria and higher levels of MGO, which give Manuka Honey most of its anti-bacterial effects.
The MGO level in Manuka honey is over 100 times more than traditional honey. However, that value varies depending on its purity. Thankfully, each jar of Manuka honey is first tested for purity in a New Zealand lab before exporting. Also, if you want to check if the product you have bought is pure, you can look at its MGO rating.
The medical applications of Manuka honey are part of undergoing research. So far, multiple health benefits of using it have been found.
Benefits of MGO
MGO has the following benefits owing to its anti-bacterial attributes. Don't consider this list complete. As we said, this product is still undergoing research, and scientists have only started peeling its layers and properties.
Manuka Honey Suitable for treating Burns
Burn treatment is critical for many reasons. For one, the inner epidermis is often exposed, which often means that it can become a ground for infection if it interacts with moisture. Manuka honey acts as a barrier, preventing moisture from reaching the burn marks.
Secondly, there is also the matter of preventing re-infection, and Manuka honey's anti-bacterial properties help prevent that. And thirdly, being a non-sticky variant of honey, it is easy to remove from the wounds.
*Manuka honey is used under medical supervision in hospitals for the treatment of burns, we recommend that you consult your medical practitioner; please do not treat burns at home.
Useful for Treating Acid Reflux and Heartburn
Studies have shown all types of honey can be beneficial in treating stomach issues. However, manuka honey has been found useful for patients who complain of stomach infections, acid reflux, gastritis, ulcers, and even diarrhea.
Manuka honey's naturally high viscosity allows it to stay longer on the esophageal walls and protect them. It kind of forms an anti-inflammatory coating over the walls, preventing many stomach issues.
Manuka Honey is Great for Treating Stomach Ulcers
A peptic ulcer can be extremely detrimental to one's health. If left untreated, it can severely damage the surface of the stomach and the small intestine. Thankfully, Manuka honey provides non-surgical treatment for this issue.
It contains flavonoids to produce antioxidant effects to prevent the formation of gastric ulcers and suppress the already present ones. It does so by killing the ulcer-causing bacteria known as H pylori. That being said, scientists are still trying to determine why it happens. If they succeed, the scientific community will likely extract the H-pylori killing element and use it in other ways.
*Please consult your medical professional and use it with medical support.
Great for Acne Treatment
Acne is formed on the skin when the hair follicles are blocked due to either oil or dead skin cells. Manuka honey, with its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties due to MGO, can soften the hold of these dead cells over the hair follicles. It allows watch them off easily and reduces acne.
Manuka Honey for Sore Throat and Cough
Honey is an age-old remedy to treat sore throat and cough and has been proven successful. Only recently, scientists found that MGO in Manuka honey kills the bacteria and reduces inflammation of the throat. Furthermore, it creates a dense and soft coating on the throat's inner lining to prevent further irritation.
Honey has also been recommended by the NHS for the relief of sore throats.
Using the MGO rating system to Identify the strength of the antibacterial activity in your Manuka Honey
You must get authentic Manuka honey to take advantage of the benefits mentioned above. To test that authenticity, New Zealand government mentions only the MGO rating.
The MGO rating system shows the strength and grade of Manuka by highlighting the MGO (Methylglyoxal) concentration in Manuka Honey. Seven MGO ratings are given based on honey's quality and authenticity.
What is the Importance of an MGO rating?
Health claims about Manuka honey are on the rise, and unfortunately, it also gives rise to counterfeiters who try to peddle sugar syrup or standard honey as Manuka honey. Therefore, the Ministry of Primary Industries in New Zealand has to set strict labeling guidelines.
Having the right MGO rating means you have obtained the right product.
If you're looking for the right Manuka honey, you must pay attention to the MGO rating of the product. Don't buy the honey if you can't see the label; only buy it if the MGO rating is the one you seek. Having a 300+ MGO rate may be better for sore throat and other smaller medical remedies but won't be good for surgical purposes. Similarly, having a high MGO-rated Manuka honey is often expensive, but it is also stronger. Choose wisely.